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Are You Buying or Selling on Steven Seagal Working with Anderson Silva?

  • Published in Kickboxing

Steven Seagal with Anderson SilvaWhen Steven Seagal first was shown with Anderson Silva at UFC 117, we all kind of chuckled and said, "hey that is pretty cool." When he walked out with Anderson at UFC 126, it was kind of funny again, but at this point it began to appear odd. Steven Seagal is an Akido instructor and former martial arts action star who now has his own dubious television series about him being a "lawman."

I grew up on Martial Arts and action films, as I feel like most men my age did. Guys like Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme were the reason to get involved in martial arts; to be as bad ass as they were. Of course, years pass, and as they do, the stark reality set upon me that JCVD had serious substance problems and that Steven Seagal was a terrible fraud. Both men fell off the radar a bit, but Seagal's career seemed to hold strong (still sparse, but it didn't fall off completely) while Van Damme's seemed to all-but disappear. Seagal had long been the butt of the joke when it comes to Hollywood circles, but still got work due to his popularity and how ridiculous of a persona he carried around with him.

Enter the modern day, where JCVD is re-building his career his way and even looks to re-enter the world of fighting, while Steven Seagal is on a reality television series and apparently trying to weasel his way into the fighting world as well. This past weekend, Anderson Silva defeated Vitor Belfort with a front high kick, a staple in just about every form of martial art that involves kicking. So, much to my surprise, Anderson Silva claimed that Steven Seagal taught him the kick. It was funny, worth a chuckle. Then, much to my disdain, this interview with Ariel Helwani came out.

Seagal claims to have taught Anderson Silva one of the most basic kicking techniques, a first week kick in Tae Kwan Do, which incidentally, was Anderson Silva's first martial art that he took when he was fourteen. Now, as anyone who has studied striking will note, there are minute differences between techniques in different forms of martial arts, but generally speaking, one form of kick does not differ too greatly from another. This is a very basic technique that Anderson Silva used almost out of context in a MMA fight, and caught everyone by surprise. For Steven Seagal to claim there is some sort of mystical "death" technique, or that he knew some secret to making the kick work better is, well, par for the course with his history.

In that interview, he discusses with Helwani how MMA is both good and bad for traditional martial arts; first it makes the public more aware, and second, it shows behind the curtain into a "secret world" that you weren't meant to see. I think my eyes nearly rolled back in my head. If anything, Mixed Martial Arts has shown the general public that there is a man behind the curtain, that there is no Oz. There are men like Seagal everywhere, who have conned people into believing that with intense, personal training from masters such as himself, you can learn some crazy secret that will help you transcend reality.

The gall he had to claim he taught Anderson Silva a technique that your average six year old can do (of course not with the force or application) was pure Seagal grandstanding. Seagal showed cracks in his story when Helwani asked him how he met Anderson Silva, he was caught on the spot and said that he didn't remember, then you could almost see the gears turning in his head as Helwani is preparing another question and he corrects himself and claims that Anderson Silva sent him a "memo" that he wanted to learn Steven's secret death techniques.

Anderson Silva and his training partners are not fools, nor are they children, if you believe for one second that this happened, you probably need to review some of the history of Steven Seagal. Seagal has lied about nearly everything in the book, from his place of birth, to adultery, to how many wives he has had, to education, work history, the list goes on and on. There have been an endless stream of interviews, op-eds and exposes on him since he became popular, with Spy Magazine discussing how his "CIA background" is a complete sham, and how he actually had mafia ties and attempted to hire hit men to take care of members of the media who "wronged him." If you search Google for "Steven Seagal Fraud" you get endless results. Check this out for some documented history.

Just because certain people claim to have more knowledge does not mean that they are correct. Understand that basic kinetics dictates that every technique in martial arts is done a certain way, and has been over years, because it is effective. If there was a way to enhance that technique, it would be canonical. Steven Seagal is an aging, overweight actor and stunt man who has nothing real to teach to accomplished martial artists. My question for you is are you buying or selling, and my question for Seagal and Anderson's camp is how much is Seagal paying you? Seriously, he has to be paying them something, right? Because if I were an accomplished martial artist and world champion, I know the last thing I'd need is an over-the-hill actor to tell me how I should fight, especially when said actor has no history fighting himself, unless I was doing so as a big joke or he was paying me to be his friend.

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Strikeforce in Japan: Why It'll Work and UFC Won't

  • Published in Kickboxing

(C) Dave Mandel/Sherdog.comThere have been rumors since the announcement of the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP that Strikeforce's head honcho Scott Coker had plans on running a leg of the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP in Japan, of all places. He wants this tournament to have a "global" feel to it, and running in a new market like Japan seems like a no-brainer.

I really haven't given this much thought, as it seemed like big plans with no follow-through. Especially after Coker had all of this big talk about running Cowboys Stadium in Texas, a feat that a Manny Pacquiao fight sold 50,000+ tickets to. A bit of insanity if you ask many, as UFC has yet to even approach such a large stadium. Japan, on the other hand, seems to be a very real possibility. On Tuesday night I spoke with MMA Torch about the announcement from the UFC in regards to their "Japanese expansion" and Jamie surprised me with a question about Strikeforce running Japan.

Honestly, Strikeforce has a much better chance of running Japan than the UFC does, this year next year or after. The logic behind this is very, very simple, but also very solid. The big thing is that to run in Japan, you have to be ready to make concessions and promote in Japan. UFC's expansion is, well, underwhelming. They have an obscure pay-TV network they run on and will now feature some mobile video services, but none of this is very interesting to fans in Japan. Without live shows, a broadcast television network and some star power the UFC has no real hopes. Their attitude of "all or nothing" will be their achilles heel in Japan.

Strikeforce, though, seem to know what it means to do business in Japan, and according to ESPN.com's Josh Gross, Scott Coker is planning to meet with Real Entertainment to discuss an April 9th event. When I spoke with MMA Torch, I explained that the only real way for Strikeforce to promote in Japan would be to work with another company, and with FEG's future uncertain, the DREAM partner company, Real Entertainment made perfect sense. Real has fighter contracts (most of the DREAM fighters), production staff, television partners, sponsors and a lot more.

If you take into account fighters like Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Josh Barnett, Antonio Silva, Fabricio Werdum and Sergei Kharitonov, all of these fighters have established name value in Japan. For Fedor Emelianenko this would be a grand homecoming for him. For Alistair Overeem this would be the K-1 and DREAM Champion fighting in his home away from home turf. Also consider that Satoshi Ishii could have a Strikeforce contract by then and that Tatsuya Kawajiri just defeated Josh Thomson at Dynamite!!, so a possible bout between Kawajiri and Gilbert Melendez could be big for Japanese fans as well.

Strikeforce also seems to be considering working with Real Entertainment even more, says Gross. Real Entertainment is going to take some of those fighter contracts that they have and with Strikeforce's help, put on a Lightweight tournament, with our without DREAM. It looks like Strikeforce is taking Japan seriously and are willing to "play ball." Now, if it will pan out financially for them, that is another story for another day (or another site, like FightOpinion.com).

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K-1 Striking vs. MMA Striking: The Tired, Worthless Debate

  • Published in K-1

Kyotaro vs. MousasiI've finally had a chance to sit down and watch Dynamite!! and there is a lot to say reflecting upon the events from that show. There has been a bit of an ongoing debate over the "level" of K-1 strikers and how they compare to MMA strikers. The general fallout from the internet seems to be that the disparity between K-1 kickboxers and MMA fighters is slim, with K-1 fighters being overrated by fans and the talent pool being shallow at this point in time.

Of course, it didn't help that at Dynamite!! we saw Gegard Mousasi take K-1 Heavyweight Champion Kyotaro to the distance and win the fight via decision. Mousasi even scored a few knockdowns, and this comes off the heels of his 2008 victory over Musashi.

The year 2010 was also the year that saw Alistair Overeem, a fighter primarily known for competing in Mixed Martial Arts take home kickboxing's most coveted prize; the K-1 World Grand Prix Championship. Overeem has long been an interesting topic for debate; is he good? Is he just alright? Do his poor Light Heavyweight performances from a few years ago reflect upon him now? What lengths has he gone to improve his performance? If he isn't that good of a striker, what does it say about K-1 competition?

The truth is, kickboxers are being beaten at their own game. Overeem holds wins over Badr Hari, Peter Aerts (twice), Ewerton Teixeira, Dzevad Poturak, Tyrone Spong and Gokhan Saki. That list is impressive and contains some of K-1's best fighters. Mousasi only holds two K-1 victories, over an aging and ready to retire Musashi and a sluggish if not exhausted from competing weeks before Kyotaro, but is still being used as an example of a MMA fighter making K-1 look bad.

It seems foolish and unfair to label these fighters as either this or that. What really makes a fighter? Alistair Overeem has been training kickboxing since he was a teenager, making his pro debut at age 17 before switching over to MMA. Gegard Mousasi began his career as a boxer and kickboxer, transitioning to MMA and using his judo background combined with his striking prowess to be successful.

As we saw at Dynamite in Satoshi Ishii vs. Jerome Le Banner and Hideo Tokoro vs. Kazuhisa Watanabe, a striker moving into MMA put in grappling situations can be easily lost and frustrated, while a MMA fighter put in a pure striking situation can appear to be competent.

To use Gegard Mouasasi and Alistair Overeem as examples of Mixed Martial Artists "clowning" K-1 kickboxers is crass and an exercise in semantics at best. As I posed before, what really makes a fighter? Do the fact that both fighters' records in MMA are more prolific mean that they are Mixed MArtial Artists, or does the fact that they began as strikers mean that they are strikers that adapted a grappling game for Mixed Martial Arts, found success in MMA and stuck with it?

Both men train at kickboxing gyms with some of the best kickboxers in the world (Mousasi trains with Golden Glory when preparing for fights). The Golden Glory gym is primarily a kickboxing gym, while they train MMA fighters, they will always be known (rightfully so) as one of the best kickboxing gyms in the world. To me, Alistair Overeem's affiliation with Golden Glory just speaks of how serious he is about his striking.

Kickboxing and Muay Thai are arts in and of themselves and are incorporated, at least partially, into Mixed Martial Arts. If someone wants to make this argument maybe the survey field needs to grow; take a fighter who grapples as their primary art, toss them into a ring with Kyotaro or an injured Gokhan Saki or Peter Aerts and see how they fare. Rinse, repeat, because we all know a survey from a shallow test field does not yield exact results.

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The Voice Versus Wanderlei Silva; A Look at the Axe Murderer

  • Published in Kickboxing

(C) SusumuThere are very few MMA fighters that I consider an all-time favorite of mine, as I tend to prefer the exciting, intelligent striker who can handle himself on the ground. There are a lot of good strikers who have made the move to MMA, but a lot tend to play it safe or have no real ground game to speak of, but then there is Wanderlei Silva. Wanderlei did not make a huge impression on me at first in his UFC fights, he was pretty good at the time, but the Tito Ortiz fight was enough to make me forget about him for a while.

So you can only imagine how I felt in 2001, yeah over a year later, when I saw him again in PRIDE and saw the absolutely path of carnage and destruction that lay in his path; I was hooked. The wrist roll, the stare of a madman, the crazy, brawling Chute Boxe Muay Thai and the ability to defend himself on the ground and work his way back to his feet to continue to symphony of violence. From 2000 until 2005 Wanderlei Silva was an absolute machine. If there ever was a fighter that I could get behind it was Wanderlei Silva.

As I'm sure you can imagine, since he moved over to a much more local fight scene in the United States, it has been a lot more difficult to be a Wanderlei Silva fan. Since his return to the UFC Wanderlei has a 2 - 3 record with only one knockout under his belt and doesn't seem to be moving as fast or hitting as hard. Lot's of people will say that Wanderlei was simply not that great, as he is a mere 34 years old right now, but to that I argue the man started his fighting career training at age 13 and was fighting within the next year of his life and has not slowed down since. He peaked before moving to the UFC and you have to be comfortable with that.

Enter the Voice Versus Wanderlei Silva. The latest in HDnet's interview series with Michael Schiavello. Unlike Fighting Words with Mike Straka, which tends to err on the side of serious journalism, the Voice Versus is a more friendly sit-down interview style that feels like a conversation between old friends. It doesn't matter if Schiavello has only met each fighter in passing or is good friends with him, his demeanor, tone and candor makes it so fighters can feel at home with him, as does his knowledge of each fighter's history and of tall tales. There is nothing different when it comes to the Wanderlei Silva episode as he discusses coming up in Brazil, the origins of his name, that Jiu-Jitsu photo of him being lovingly embraced by Shogun Rua and Wanderlei customizing Schiavello's head with a Team WS tattoo.

What really comes through loud and clear is how nice of a guy Wanderlei is, he talks about how he has to build up a rage inside of him when he fights and how the adrenaline changes him, but the man himself is gentle, quiet and very funny. Seeing "the Axe Murderer" in a setting like this is refreshing, as you get to see just how much he enjoys laughing and telling stories about the legendary Chute Boxe gym and how he considers most of the fighters he has faced and knocked out our been knocked out by as good friends now. Did you know that Kazushi Sakuraba calls Wanderlei up at 2am to discuss fights? Because he does. We also see that Wand has no desire to do kickboxing post-UFC, as he understands they are entirely different sports and he is not prepared to fight high level strikers.

So do yourself a favor and tune in on Friday Night at 8pm Eastern for the Voice Versus Wanderlei Silva on HDnet.

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UPDATE: HDnet and It's Showtime Ink Deal; K-1 Soon to Return

  • Published in Kickboxing

It's ShowtimeWith K-1's stunning silence throughout the year 2011 there is no doubt that Dutch promotion It's Showtime has picked up the slack that K-1 left and then some. It's Showtime has grown from a smaller organization that promoted a few scattered events, which from 1999 until 2004 involved one big event a year, which eventually turned into one big event at the Amsterdam ArenA until 2005 when the promotion decided to branch out and run more events. In 2005 they held a series with Gentlemen's Promotion that revolved around a massive 75kg tournament. The next year saw them co-promote with K-1 for the first time in what turned into a longstanding and beneficial relationship for both sides until recently, when K-1 fell upon massive financial woes and It's Showtime decided to move forward in the wake of K-1's absence.

This year is primed to be It's Showtime's biggest year yet, with last year holding 7 events and this year having 6 events already on their calendar and another three to four events in the works, but it doesn't stop there. LiverKick.com has been speaking with It's Showtime officials for a while now, and have understood that It's Showtime was not just happy with European expansion and was indeed looking to expand into the United States. This led to talks with a few television stations and promotional partners, some deals falling apart and then some rumors over the past week of big things brewing for It's Showtime.

Simon Rutz is no fool, as can be seen with the gradual growth of It's Showtime over the past 12 years. It's Showtime was not simply looking for a television deal for the United States, they were looking for promotional partners. Like we've seen with all of It's Showtime's recent events, they partner up with another company for all of their shows; BFN Group, Fight Group, Fighting Stars, Oktagon and even individuals like Yiannis Evgenikos and Kader Marouf. They wanted nothing different when it came to the United States and would not even think about promoting shows here without strong support from another promotion or entity, the same goes with television. They simply did not want to be on television, they wanted a working partnership that would expand the company.

We've dug pretty deep and found out that It's Showtime and HDnet finalized a deal earlier this week that will change the kickboxing world as we know it. It's Showtime has been added to HDnet's fight library, starting as soon as the May 14th Lyon, France show. That event will be aired on the following Friday at 11pm Eastern time. It is not airing live because of the short notice for the deal working itself out. We do know that Michael Schiavello is in Lyon, France right now most likely to commentate live on the event. To say that HDnet is going to give It's Showtime the "K-1 treatment" is an understatement.

Multiple sources have claimed that HDnet actually went and bought It's Showtime, or at least bought into the company. It was announced today that HDnet will begin airing It's Showtime immediately, through an agency called Fighting Spirit. LiverKick.com has also learned that HDnet is very interested in possibly purchasing K-1 to add to their stable of original programming. HDnet has aired K-1 in the past, but this would be different. K-1 has been having financial problems and many have been critical of their management, HDnet would look to have the legendary promotion turn a corner and help fully realize its potential in the United States.

UPDATE: Andrew Simon clarified that HDnet has only purchased the rights to It's Showtime in the U.S., not outright purchasing the promotion. They will work with the promotion to promote the shows, but won't hold an actual stake in it. As for K-1, HDnet will look to possibly further air their programming when live programming is available.

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UFC 128: Jon Jones Ends the "Shogun Era"

  • Published in Americas

We just saw a hype train not get derailed, but fly off of the rails on its own accord and into the realm of hyperbole. Not in a very long time have I seen a fighter get as hyped up so quickly as Jon Jones has in his very brief Mixed Martial Arts career. Jones has all of the potential in the world, has a large, lanky frame and a wrestling pedigree on top of a sense of creativity that most Mixed Martial Artists are afraid to express.

There is a very good chance that tonight Dana White and the Fertitas were finally able to create a new, homegrown star and one that will have wider appeal than a middle aged white man with a beer gut and a mohawk could have. Jon Jones handled Shogun like he was a small child, and while all of his weaknesses were still there, his strengths were enough to make Shogun look like an average fighter to say the least. Jones had a hard time keeping position on the ground due to poor posturing while going for big elbow strikes, on his feet his footwork as as sloppy as ever and the big shots were never set up or followed up on.

That won't matter to most because he won the fight in dominant fashion and landed a few big, cool moves on his feet that will fill a highlight reel up for future fights quite nicely. A lot of those cool moves he throws he actually did't pick up from Jackson or Winklejohn, but former K-1 fighter Mark Miller (whom I urge you to Google, guy has the best story in combat sports) who he used to train with. So the flash of Jon Jones came from one of the few kickboxers in the United States that were able to prove themselves on an international level in the past ten years and added to the wrestling base that Greg Jackson has been able to have a field day with.

Jones moves on to face team mate Rashad Evans and a slew of articles hailing him as the greatest champion prospect to ever live, but he'll need to keep his head on the ground and pick up some of those fundamentals if he wants to stay on top, because eventually someone will be able to exploit them.

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Andy Souwer Training with Jose Aldo; Possible Entry into MMA?

  • Published in Kickboxing

Souwer Power (C) SusumuWhen worlds collide sometimes, it can make your head explode. Today, that occurred as Andy Souwer on his official Twitter made mention that Jose Aldo had just arrived in Holland to train with Team Souwer for three weeks in preparation for his April 30th UFC Featherweight Title defense against Mark Hominick. To understand the gravity of this, Jose Aldo, the beast of a striker from WEC's Featherweight division, now the UFC's Featherweight division, will be training in Holland with Andy Souwer and countless other names to prepare for his upcoming UFC Title Fight at UFC 129, the biggest show UFC has ever attempted.

There is a lot of awesome involved in that.

Jose Aldo's WEC career consisted of seven forms of KO or TKO and only one decision against the tough-as-nails Urijah Faber, where Aldo turned Faber's knee into hamburger meat but couldn't finish the California Kid. Aldo is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt, not that anyone gets to see his ground work in his MMA fights, who is well known for his Muay Thai, training with the Black House fighters in Brazil. Sharpening his skills with some of the best Dutch kickboxers is truly a great idea and can only help him to refine that raw striking talent he has.

The other news bit is that Andy Souwer made mention to possibly switching over to MMA. I'm not joking.

souwerpower82: k1 is game over so no changes for Jose, i hope i'll get the change in his discipline (UFC)!!!

The english isn't fantastic and you could read it a few different ways if you wish to, but it does indeed read like Andy Souwer has his eyes set on fighting in Mixed Martial Arts if his K-1 career is indeed over like he believes it to be. For now we know that Andy Souwer has a fight on March 6th with It's Showtime and is slated to participate in It's Showtime's Russian event, featuring an 8-man 70kgs MAX tournament, so I don't see Souwer going anywhere for the time being.

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Fight Code Budapest Fight Card

  • Published in Kickboxing

Fight CodeThe next big European fight card is only a few short weeks away, taking place on May 1st in Budapest, Hungary. The card will be promoted by dynamo fight promotion Fight Code, who much like It's Showtime and Ultimate GLORY have stepped up in 2011 as serious contenders in the realm of high-end kickboxing.

This is a continuation of Fight Code's "Dragon Series." The Dragon Series is Fight Code's 72.5kg tournament (primarily 70kg/MAX fighters), where we've seen such fighters as Yoshihiro Sato, Armen Petrosyan, Dzabar Askerov, Giorgio Petrosyan and Cosmo Alexandre participate.

Fight Code released the card for the event earlier in the week, and it is shaping up to look like a strong event.

Dragon Tournament Bouts

Halim Issaoui [Maroc] vs Simon Chu [United Kingdom]

Luka Tomic [Croatia] vs Norbert Balogh [Hungary]

Juri Bessmertny [Belarus] vs Selmedin Didic [Switzerland]

 

Non-Tournament Bouts

Vitaly Akhramenko [Belarus] vs Gyorgy Mihalik [Hungary]

Mladen Brestovac [Croatia] vs Tihamer Brunner [Hungary]

Corneliu "Coco" Rus [Romania] vs Freddy Kemayo [France]

 

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Did You Like Anderson Silva's UFC 126 Front Kick KO? Watch This.

  • Published in Video

Last night at UFC 126 we were all given the chance to see a great, legendary knockout by UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson "The Spider" Silva. Anderson was able to get some distance on Vitor Belfort after a flurry and scramble and absolutely finish Vitor off with a front kick that will go down in history as one of the most out of nowhere knockouts in MMA history. Joe Rogan went on to say that he has never seen a front kick KO in any sport, and I humbly tossed my hat into the ring immediately on Twitter pointing out that K-1 MAX 2005 Japan Champion, Taishin Kohiruimaki (also known as Takayuki Kohiruimaki) is the exception to that rule.

While I'm sure that Joe Rogan knows that, as Rogan is a diehard fan of K-1, and part of his job as a UFC commentator is to sell the brand and the action happening in the ring, watch one of the other incredible front kick KOs in the history of combat sports as Taishin Kohiruimaki faces Akeomi Nitta in the MAX Japan 2005 finals. Much like with last night's kick by Anderson, this kick comes out of nowhere, and usually the front high kick is not known as a murderous blow, but I remember watching this in 2005 and jumping out of my chair, so excited to see such an amazing KO.

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UFC 128: Brendan Schaub Brutally KO's Cro Cop

  • Published in Americas

Mirko Cro Cop didn't come out to Duran Duran, instead he came out to Ennio Morricone's classic L'estasi Dell'Oro [The Ecstasy of Gold] from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. To many this shows signs of change and for a night of PRIDE NEVER DIE, an ominous sign.

Brendan Schaub is a large, scary dude who looks to have a bright future ahead of him. He clinched Cro Cop against the cage and was broken by Herb Dean for a possible rabbit punch. This just led to a takedown by Schaub. Cro Cop was actually able to sweep him and get back to his feet, but more clinch work from Schaub just exposes what we already know; Cro Cop hates getting clinched.

The second round sees a lot of the same, Cro Cop seems to be afraid of throwing meaningful strikes and his inability to clinch has haunted his UFC career. He throws a left high kick that Schaub was able to avoid and use to take Cro Cop down. The remainder of the round was Goldberg discussing Jon Jones and lots of clinching. Cro Cop actually uses a few close elbows to get some blood out of Schaub before Schaub once again rabbit punches Mirko and loses a point. That might actually even up the fight or put Cro Cop in the lead as he landed the best shots in that round.

The third round starts off with a left inside leg kick from Cro Cop that like a heat seeking missle connects with Schaub's cup. Left leg ball breaker, right leg vasectomy. Schaub after he recovers takes Cro Cop down, Cro Cop pushes him off and gets immediately taken down again with a diving tackle. For some odd reason Shaub lets him get back up and Cro Cop is able to stuff a takedown. It looked good for Cro Cop and then Brendan Schaub lands a crazy right hook behind the ear of Cro Cop sending him flying, head bouncing off the mat.

We love Cro Cop, but it is that time.

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